The latest renewal of the Group 3 Nell Gwyn Stakes over seven furlongs at Newmarket this week failed to add any clues as to the possible outcome of this year’s 1,000 Guineas at the same venue next month or indeed the Investec Oaks at Epsom in June.
The race was won by 28/1 outsider Esentepe, trained by Richard Hannon and ridden by Pat Dobbs who hung on gamely to withstand the challenge of Mick Channon’s 20/1 shot Nayarra carrying a 3lb penalty for her win in Group One company in Italy last October. It was a good performance from the winner who never lost the lead after taking it up three furlongs from home but is was hardly a performance that will have Hannon recommending the owners to supplement her for theGuineas. Esentepe might go and win in similar company in the future but she is a lot short of being described as top class.
Nayarra, who does have an entry for theGuineas, did nothing to improve her classic chances and looked every bit like a Filly who has won just one race in ten starts. Her performance together with the general quality of the Nell Gwyn this year explains why she has drifted in the 1000 Guineas market and is now out to 50/1 for the Fillies Classic.
If there was any good impressions made, they in fact came from the third and fourth home, Lily’s Angel and Starscope. They both came with strong finishes in the final furlong and both would certainly be suited by the extra furlong of theGuineas. However, there is little doubt that they would struggle against genuine Group One contenders in a race of that quality.
The Nell Gwyn is becoming somewhat unreliable as a 1000 Guineas Trial with nine of its last ten winners failing to finish in the frame in the race. The exception being Speciosa who won the Nell Gwyn before winning theGuineasfor trainer Pam Sly in 2006.
There is very little change in the betting therefore for the 1000 Guineas with the Aidan O’Brien trained pair of Maybe and Wading heading the antepost market at 5/2 and 7/1 respectively. Mahmood Al Zarooni’s pair of Lyric Of Light and Discourse at 8/1 and 9/1 come next for Godolphin with the French Raider, Mashoora, next best at 10/1.
The 1,000 Guineas takes place at Newmarket on Sunday 6th May.